Spanish Grand Prix – The place for surprises

Because of its location, characteristics and climate, the Catalunya Circuit is today the traditional training ground for Formula 1. For the past three years it has been the sole venue for winter testing and it will host two more days of in-season testing on the Tuesday and Wednesday following this weekend’s Grand Prix. For some time now, it is also the venue that kicks off the European season, characterised by the arrival of the mobile hospitality units, still erroneously referred to as “motorhomes” and the fact that cars and equipment all travel by land.

All the drivers claim to know the Montmelo track like the back of their hand, however, not everything can be taken for granted this time, given that winter testing was held in extremely cold conditions and now, in May, the weather will be very different. Furthermore, the track was completely resurfaced at the start of the year, losing some of the roughness for which it was famous and therefore there will be much to learn about the 2018 Medium, Soft and Super Soft compounds in the hotter weather. At the moment, a 2017-style heatwave is not expected, but air temperature, especially on Friday, should comfortably exceed the 20 degree mark.

The Catalan track provides a veritable “workout” for chassis, aerodynamics and indeed the drivers, given that turns like 3 and 9 are now taken flat-out or almost. It’s a track that has everything, but offers few passing opportunities. For those who have the time, Barcelona is around 20 kilometres away with all the attractions of a Mediterranean city. The F1 workers can console themselves with the robust and tasty food, with literary references to Montalban, the writer who inspired the most famous of Andrea Camilleri’s characters…

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